Bingaman plans to offer ‘clean energy standard’ proposal amid major hurdles

“I think that what Sen. Bingaman is likely to do is, we are likely to put out a proposal, at least leaving that [climate regulation] issue aside ... of what we think a reasonable way of structuring a clean energy standard per se is, recognizing that many Republicans won’t be able to say, ‘I support it,’ ” he said at a briefing hosted by Politico.

Early this year, President Obama called for a CES that would require power companies to jointly supply 80 percent of the nation’s electricity from sources including renewables, nuclear and natural gas by 2035. Bingaman has been working with the White House and Murkowski on the issue.

Simon said there might be hearings on Bingaman’s proposal but noted the grim prospects for advancing a CES given the GOP’s opposition to climate change rules.

“It seems that [Republicans] won’t be able to embrace a clean energy standard without a particular answer to that, and I just don’t see that there is going to be a bipartisan consensus on that topic,” Simon said.

In late June, McKie Campbell, Murkowski's staff director, called the senator's view that a CES should replace climate rules a “bedrock” disagreement with Bingaman, and said he didn’t see “any plausible political path forward."

Campbell, appearing at the event with Simon on Tuesday, reiterated that view. “The reality is I don’t see it politically happening,” he said.